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Dressage Horse
mirrored dysfunction

Mirrored Dysfunction In Horse & Rider

A horse and rider will influence, or mirror, each other in structural alignment and imbalances in their bodies. In riding, the seat is the foundation for stability of the rider, and initiation of movement in the horse. If the riders seat bones are uneven in the saddle, it is causing the pelvis and spine to tilt. These alignment issues will result in uneven pressure applied to the horse, causing him to bend and lift his back asymmetrically and consistently step under, creating torsion in his body. Over time, his fascia will restrict and predispose him to chronic strain, injury, and lead to training and performance difficulties.


Uneven Seat Pressure Due To Rider's Pelvic Imbalance

This rider's right pelvic bone was tilted forward, which created poor contact with the seat. Her left pelvic bone was tilted backward, driving the ischial tuberosity ("sit bone") down into the seat, creating excessive contact (1). Her pelvic position was the result of her experiencing mild low back and shoulder pain over many years.


Horse And Rider Mirror Each Other In Structural Alignment and Dysfunctions

The rider’s pelvic imbalance also rotated the femur, applying uneven pressure to the horse (2, 3). The misalignment hindered communication between the horse and rider—as well as creating maladaptive changes in the horse’s gait and body position—all of which predisposed them both to chronic strain and injury.


Fascial Restrictions Lead to Chronic Strain, Decreased Performance, and Injury

In this particular case, the rider's imbalance led to the horse's difficulty in executing precise right turns, as well as a loss of speed and power during performance.

The horse eventually began to favor his right front leg. The veterinarian and farrier were not able to determine the cause or correct the problem. However, Myofascial Release was able to correct the imbalances in both horse and rider.

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